Hitting Patterns

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by McLovin, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Hey all, I'm coaching a local high school girls team, and one of the things I hope to work on with the top 2 or 3 girls is thinking about patterns. For example, last month I had them hit 3 inside-out forehands, then take one inside-in (I was trying to teach them to 'dictate' with the forehand).

    The other day I had them hit 2 cross-court backhands, then step around and take the forehand inside-in. After they got the hang of that, I added an inside-out forehand.

    Effectively, I want them to work on point construction, think about being more aggressive, and finally finishing at the net. Most just react to their opponents shots, but some of the competing schools have top 2 or 3 girls that are already 4.5s. Simply reacting will result in a quick 10-2 defeat.

    So, are there any well known patterns I can work on with them? Most can't hit a slice backhand, and there's not much time to teach them how to hit one, but two of them can hit a decent drop shot.
     
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  2. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Forehand pattern drills:
    http://youtu.be/r-A1LINtTZM?t=5m25s

    Backhand pattern drills:
    http://youtu.be/rbv8OB2wnHQ?t=5m30s

    The patterns get progressively more difficult and complicated. You may have to adjust the drills depending on the types of shots that they can hit, or as you teach them new shots.

    All useful drills/patterns that they can put into play in matches from day 1.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
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  3. BHiC

    BHiC Rookie

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    One pattern that I like to use it hit heavy deep cross-court, then when I get a ball that I can slightly step in on roll an angle, and take the next shot to the opposite corner. Ideally this will take place in 3 shots (or 1 or 2 off the serve), but it could take more if the opponent gives them a ball that they can't hit an angle on.
     
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  4. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for those. I'll check them out tonight.
     
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  5. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, one thing I want work with them on is varying pace/spin during the rally. Most people (me included) like a nice rhythm, so mixing it up is a great way to throw off a good player, and if they can learn to generate angles, they can take their opponent's legs out from under them.
     
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  6. BHiC

    BHiC Rookie

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    Yes, a lot of kids don't like to move forward. The angle doesn't have to be great,but just short enough to make the opponent have to run up to it and get them out of position. I know people who are great movers side to side but not so great when moving up or back.

    Hope this helps, and Good Luck!
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I hit with a local high school girl in my neighborhood a few years ago. She had zero difficulty handling hard shots or heavy topspin. When I hit slice backhands to her, it was like she had never seen that shot before. So I think over the long term, that is definitely a shot worth teaching.


    Almost all players like a flatter ball with pace over and over.
     
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  8. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    let me know what you think of them... i practice those patterns sometimes.
     
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  9. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Good videos, good info. I wish they could edit the vids down a bit. Just give me the nitty gritty, por favor.
     
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  10. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    In my very brief playing time with HS Girls, I have observed that the drop shot/lob combo is their Kryptonite.
     
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  11. BHiC

    BHiC Rookie

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    That is a very good point, many girls do not have extremely well developed overheads and overhead coverage, even getting up to high level sectional/national players.
     
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  12. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    It is true that there are those who claim to take raw talent in HS and make great players out of them. I have never seen it done by a HS coach. There are many things you can do to make them better at winning tennis matches (some of which will NOT make them better tennis players).

    You can improve their conditioning a huge amount. That alone can take a retriever skill set and make the player very difficult to beat.

    You are looking to give your players a set of patterns to play, that is, work on tactics. Great idea, if and only if, they have the strokes to hit the shots. You already know that answer.

    Doubles is another area that HS tennis often emphasizes, point-wise yet few coaches or players make full use of doubles strategy/knowledge.
     
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  13. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I am only working with the top 3 players, two of whom have been taking lessons hard at the local club since the season ended last spring. I'm not looking to fix/improve their strokes, just help them think more on the court. I leave that for the pros at the club.

    I agree 100%. That is why my 1st two weeks of practice consist of 1 hour of conditioning (sprints, core, running bleachers, etc.), followed by 1 hour of practice. Once the season starts, we only run ~ 1/2 a mile before each practice as I don't want anyone to get injured or aggravate anything.

    BTW, I'm not a trainer, but my daughter has been attending a strength training program for her soccer team for 3 years now, and I go to them & take notes. Then I talk to the trainers & see what would apply for tennis.

    Again, I agree 100%. Many drills include all four at the net, attacking 2nd serves, moving as a team, and the afore mentioned overheads.

    Another aspect I stress is to bring your partner up emotionally. I tell them to show emotion when their partner hits a good shot, to take time and talk between points, and never ever get down on your partner.
     
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  14. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Well, I feel a lot better about myself as a coach now...

    I only watched the forehand drill, but most of them I was already doing, or at least something similar. For example, the 2x2x2 drill I did, but as 1x1x1. I like the thought of them hitting 2 balls as opposed to 1, so I'll modify mine that way. Also, I was planning on doing something similar to the angle forehand crosscourt, followed by a down-the-line drill tomorrow.

    I'll watch the backhand drills later & see what I can pick up from them.

    I'm also planning on running video & having them watch themselves play.

    Thanks again for the links.
     
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  15. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    It is important to learn to hit the right shot for the right occasion. Here is a quick check list for you.

    Make them hit lots of serves. First from the basket to work on pace and placement (wide, body, up the T) and then pointplay situations such as serve, return, volley, etc.

    Here are some proven patterns:

    Drill 1

    Establish a forehand to forehand cross court rally, on a bit shorter ball hit a winner down the line (and play out the point if the winner comes back).

    Drill 2

    Establish a backhand to backhand cross court rally, on a bit shorter ball hit a winner down the line (and play out the point if the winner comes back).

    Drill 3

    Two players A and B on a single court.

    Player A hits cross court
    Player B hits down the line
    and then swap the roles.

    Drill 4

    Play practice sets with modified scoring:

    If the player hits an ace she wins the game
    If she commits double fault she loses the game
    If she wins the point with a volley and/or smash she wins the game.
    If she wins the point from the baseline she wins just one point.

    If the player are committed and want to learn they will enjoy the above.

    Good luck.
     
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  16. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

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    I've never been a fan of "patterns" when practicing which says hit one cross court then down the line the cross court then lob...blah blah. For instance, hit Forehand CC, then hit an inside-in backhand DTL. What if the ball you're supposed to hit DTL is on the right side-line, or hit really deep to your forehand?

    I think it's better to have players establish CC rallies and teach them when to recognize short balls, inside balls, short outside balls, and the appropriate types of shot selection for each of these situations. For instance, have your players rally CC forehands and teach them if they get a ball on the inside to their backhand they can now either go DTL or back CC. I believe these are called directionals.

    Of course, this only works if the players understand how to hit a slice, a rally ball, and how to flatten out a shot and go for a winner. But I would certainly say at this level a player should never "go for a winner." They should chose to the shot which will give their opponents the most trouble, and if that shot means hit to the open court and its a winner then great, but this shouldn't be the main goal.
     
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  17. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    I can see where you are coming from, but my main goal is for them to be thinking about where to place the shot. The patterns are just a way to get them into the mindset of "I'm hitting the shot here, then there, and if they get it back, I'm hitting it over there...". During practice I try to stress to them that the ball "may not come back where you want it", which is why I always have them move back into position (i.e., slide towards the center has mark) in case the opponent hits down the line, and not hang out in one corner.
    Good ideas, and that is something I have worked on in the past. In my short career as a girls coach, the one thing that seems to be difficult across the board is depth perception. For some reason, girls (even ones who've been playing all their lives) have a hard time recognizing when to more forward for a shot and when to move back.
    IMO, only the top two have the ability to go for a winner, but even then we work on staying away from the lines & giving yourself a good margin for error. One of the pros at my club tells his kids if "your opponent calls a close shot out, don't complain. It's your fault for hitting so close to the lines". That's a great way to look at it.

    None of them can hit a decent slice, and I'm not a teaching pro, so I'll leave that to the professionals. But I do plan on working with them to change up spins & pace, along with placement.
     
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  18. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    directionals are important and are useful for developing the ability to play high % tennis and long rallies, but patterns like in the video aren't used to teach that... neither is the idea to show teh appropriate shot selection in reaction to a certain shot...

    instead, these kinds of patterns teach you to dictate the point using the shots in your arsenal, especially if you are playing someone who is using directionals. that your shot selection can be pro-active and not just reactive. this helps to build an aggressive mindset where you build up the point to the winner instead of going for broke. you are in control.
     
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  19. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Thank you. You hit the nail on the head as far as what I am trying to achieve, but also said it in a much better way than I could. My main goal being your last sentence: You are in control.
     
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  20. Nellie

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    In my experience, many high school girls are stronger from the backhand side, so it is good to have them practice dictating points from that wing with some of the drills you were previously practicing. Boys typically want to hit from the forehand side.

    Also, in comparison to boys, I also find that the girls can dictate points with sharp angles and accuracy instead pace. So, I would practice hitting a couple crosscourt to the corner of the baseline and then have them hit sharp crosscourt to the service box to open up the court.
     
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  21. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Yep noticed that too. I'm sure there are some advantages to be played off of that,but I'm no coach.
     
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  22. McLovin

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    I've seen that on many of the teams we play, but for my top 3, two of them are equally solid off both sides, but no true weapons, while the other can crush forehands all day...but her backhand is a liability.

    For the one, her coach at the club is working on the backhand, so I'm not messing with it. That's his job and I don't want to contradict anything he says.

    However, I will take a look at the backhand patterns from the video links Relinquis posted earlier and see how I can use them.
     
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  23. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Update from yesterday (in case anyone cares):

    I ran a forehand drill similar to one in video Relinquis posted. Basically, I had them hit two angled crosscourt forehands, followed by a down the line forehand. I explained the first two shots were designed to pull the opponent outside the doubles alley and open up the court for an easier down the line shot. Two of them got the hang of it quickly, the third coming around near the end.

    However, after practice my #1 player asked if I could stay & hit for an extra 10-15 minutes. We started just hitting balls, but without me saying anything, I set her up to hit the pattern. Not only did she run the pattern, but she took it one step further by stepping in on my reply to her down the line shot & hitting behind me as I recovered.

    I stopped and looked at her, and she had this huge smile on her face. She knew she had run the pattern, but more important, she saw its effectiveness in an actual hitting situation.
     
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  24. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    thats great!

    it's always fun to see improvement, or to put something you've practiced to use.
     
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